Kingston’s city council is in the process of passing a “public nuisance” bylaw that is aimed at stopping people from public urination, defecation or vomiting. Also included in this bylaw are the acts of knocking over mailboxes and garbage cans (I’m sure recycling bins would be included too…if we had any). The law is meant to target those who habitually get drunk in public and cause a nuisance. ie. the students.
Cities have the power to enact bylaws under the Municipal Act to deal with the “economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality”. One similar bylaw already in place is the noise bylaw. Its purpose is to reduce the yelling and general chaos that sometimes ensues on downtown streets late at night. After living on Princess Street myself for five years, I think it’s safe to say, that as nice and well-meaning as these bylaws are, they don’t really work. An officer would have to be right there and able to pick out the exact person who decided to yell at the top of his lungs at 3am.
The same goes for the new bylaw. How are police going to pinpoint the many people who urinate or get sick on the street after a few too many? Police say this new law is meant as a tool for them to use when the circumstances allow. So basically, if they see it, they have a law to use to do something about it. Can’t really argue with that.
My only concern is, what happens to the homeless people who have nowhere else to urinate? Is the law going to be used against them as well or will the police look past their use of the back alleys? I’m not saying I condone them going in public but I’m not really sure what other options they have. I just hope the police use the bylaw as necessary without letting it deter them from dealing with larger, more important problems.
What do you think about this? Do the homeless folks have other options? And is it fair that the media is focusing this new law on the students? And more importantly, not that any Kingstonist reader would do such a thing, but will it stop you from taking a quick pee in the street after a crazy night out?